Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Duggars and a Chore Pack

I have recently been reading all about the Duggar family in their two books:


I can't say that I agree with all of their practices (I really hate skirts and would pretty much die if I had to wear one every single day!), but I do feel like I can connect with them on some level about their reasons for going public with their family.  We're certainly not on a TV show or anything crazy like that, but making yourself vulnerable to others can be nervewracking.  They don't water down their faith on the show or in their books, and I like that.  I also like some of the family structure they have and the responsibilities they give their children.
Enter:  Chore Packs!
The Duggars give each child a Chore Pack, which are cards with one chore on each one.  (There are pictures for the younger ones).  They are held together by a ring and the kids flip through each one to make sure they get their chores done. 
Well, we're feeling like Caleb is ready for some daily chores.  Until now, it's been more of a help-as-you're-needed kind of atmosphere, and it obviously still will be!  But I want to give him some daily responsibilities.  We all sat down together and talked about what we thought Caleb could handle.  We decided that he would be responsible for picking up his room, picking up toys in the playroom, vacuuming the kitchen (we have a little cordless sweeper), and wiping down the 1/2 bathroom with a vinegar/water solution. I wrote each chore on an index card with a picture clue for each one.
This may seem like a lot of chores, and we're still working out some kinks, but the picking up of the toys has already been an expectation.  He often vacuums the kitchen anyway, just because he likes the sweeper!  He has also cleaned the 1/2 bath quite a few times to earn an extra dime for his snack shop.  So none of these chores are new, and we aren't expecting perfection.
His chore pack hangs in the kitchen in a visible spot.  When he is done with each chore, he is supposed to bring the pack to one of us so that we can go inspect it and check it off.  There is a check-off on the back so that we can see if he did his chore for that day.
In exchange for his doing his chores with a good attitude and (eventually) without reminders, Caleb will earn a dime for each chore to spend in his snack shop.  This could potentially be a lot of dimes (which translates to a lot of snacks!), so we're ready to amend that as necessary!  On the flip side, he will lose a dime for each chore not done or done with a negative attitude.  OF COURSE, there have been many, many reminders in the beginning and we're not expecting this to all tranform overnight.  But, the goal is cheerful obedience!!  (I want to be a fly on Michelle Duggar's wall.  I don't know how she got those kids to be so obedient!)
We're not quite ready to jump into a full-fledged allowance and aren't sure if we ever will be, but dimes for the snack shop seem to be plenty of motivation for Caleb right now, so we'll go with it!
The first few days have gone pretty well, but I'm anxious to see how things go once the novelty has worn off.  We stress often that we all have jobs to do around the house and that since he's a member of this family, he does too!   
It's a work in progress.  I would love to hear how you handle chores at your house with the little ones!  What works, what doesn't?  Oh, and when should I expect Abby to start earning her keep?!?  :)


Food lover said...

Hi Julie, I love the Duggars for most of their family values and how their kids are brought up. And hats off to michelle!!!
My almost 3 year old (turning 3 this december) just started on cleaning up after play time. She sometimes ask me for help, which i don't mind. Our friends have a 5 year old daughter. They have a writing board in the kitchen, which has basically all the days in a week. They give a star a cactus (and others, i don't remember exactly) for doing a good/bad job on a level of 1 to 5 (I guess). All the points are added up for the weekend to do something special on sunday. But the prize keeps varying. She gets to play more with her toys one week and the next week, she gets to eat at her favorite restaurant the next week and so on.....If she gets cactus everyday in that week, there is no day out (or something like that).

Anonymous said...

You can call me crazy but isnt the point of teaching a child to have "cheerful obedience" to foster habits that will help children to have internal motivation, to provide for themselves, work hard, have a servants heart, do what they know is right, and do for themselves and others. By always providing a reward it seems that can show a child that they should be rewarded for what they are expected to do as a member of the family.

Julie said...

I agree with you, oh anonymous poster! We DON'T always provide a reward. These are the "above and beyond" chore that he is doing. He is also expected to clear his dishes, help empty the dishwasher, help fold and put away laundry, etc. He doesn't "get" anything for those tasks--those are just things he needs to do as a member of this family. The daily chores are in addition to these things. Thanks for your post though!

Anonymous said...

It was me Julie thought I Was signed in typed on the iPod this is just an on going conversation in parent circles not sure I always know how i feel on the subject of positive reinforcement in the way of reward especially as it applies to cheerful obedience
Erin not sure I am logged in or not

Anonymous said...

I was searching for more information on chores packs and came across your blog. I read something recently that said, when you do things for you child that he can do himself, you belittle him, as if he's not smart enough to do it. I have tried to step back and let my kids do more for themselves. One motto I have is that a homemaker is not a maid. I am not supposed to do everything for my kids but teach them how to do it for themselves. I think you do your kids an injustice if they can't do things for themselves. They are also capable of a lot more than we give them credit for.

We just had a fourth baby and needed to revise how things were going to get done in our house. We made chore sets. We divided the chores into three categories since we have three capable children. We labled them A, B, & C. They rotate each week. The three main chores are laundry, cooking, and dishes/kitchen. Then there are easier chores listed with them such as trash or watering plants. I help mostly with the cooking set and my husband helps with the laundry set.

The other night my 6 y/o daughter and I made a lasagna. When we were finished, I gave her a bread pan and had her make her own with the remaining ingredients. It's not mean to teach your children to do cook or clean. Its usually fun and rewarding.